Posts tagged with "coronavirus pandemic"

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Kaelen Felix Illustrates a COVID-19 Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Native Peoples’ Perspectives Toward COVID-19 Vaccine

Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) released a study with the first-ever national data regarding American Indian and Alaska Native peoples’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about a COVID-19 vaccine.

The study surveyed American Indians and Alaska Natives across 46 states—representing 318 different tribal affiliations—to gather information ranging from individuals’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to the hurdles they face in accessing healthcare and resources.

“This data will be important to all organizations conducting COVID-19 vaccine education efforts,” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, director of UIHI. “Native communities have unique challenges and needs that usually are not considered in public health campaigns.”

American Indian and Alaska Native people continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates are 3.5 and 1.8 times that of non-Hispanic Whites, respectively.

While there has been worry about vaccine participation in Native communities, 75% of study participants claimed they would be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, higher than the national average according to an Ipsos survey from October 2020, which indicates that 64% of the U.S. general population was willing to receive a vaccine.

“Willingness to receive a vaccine and hesitancy are not mutually exclusive,” said Echo-Hawk. “Fear and distrust of government and medical systems still exist in our community, which are hurdles that we have to overcome.”

Echo-Hawk hopes the report can start to create a better understanding of the unique perspectives of Native people.

“The data indicates that most Native people willing to be vaccinated feel it is their responsibility for the health of their community,” Echo-Hawk said. “This shows what motivates our community when it comes to decision-making.”

Report key findings:

  • 75% of participants were willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 74% of participants claimed that getting vaccinated is their responsibility to their community.
  • 89% of participants wanted evidence that the vaccine is safe right now and in the long term.
  • 39% of all participants reported difficulty traveling to their clinic for an appointment.
  • Two-thirds of participants willing to get vaccinated were confident that COVID-19 vaccines were adequately tested for safety and effectiveness among Native people.
  • 75% of participants willing to get vaccinated had concerns about potential side effects.
  • 25% of participants were unwilling to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 90% of participants unwilling to get vaccinated recognized COVID-19 as a serious disease.
  • 89% of participants unwilling to get vaccinated had concerns about potential side effects.
Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

How To Combat Loneliness, Especially Now

During the COVID-19 crisis, all of our lives have been disrupted. We’re not connecting with family, friends and colleagues like we used to, and it’s easy to feel lonely. To help some of the people I was coaching, I wrote down eight ways to combat this feeling and tested them on our business clients, executives, and even some friends. What they found was they could, indeed, address their own sense of being alone and fill their days with well-being and even happiness.

 I thought I would share those eight ways. 

  1. You can manage your mind. If you visualize each day as one filled with purpose and meaning, you will find that the act of being alone or distant from those you care about becomes less important. With a little practice, you really can train your mind to believe that it is happy without others. Seriously, collaborate with your mind. It will do exactly what it thinks you want it to do.
  2. Exercise is especially important. It’s an essential part of a healthy mind, body, spirit. Find a ritual every day that gets you up, walking, working out, biking…anything that is not sitting in a chair.
  3. Plan weekends where you are at public spaces. Visit a park, a hiking trail or a playground, and talk to other people. Wear your mask and introduce yourself. You will find that you and they will feel less lonely. I did a podcast once with a woman who was always on the airplane working in all kinds of places—much as I had been. She used to walk in the parks just to create the feeling that she was not alone. Neither of us were ever really alone, but we were often lonely. The walks always quieted our minds and engaged our spirits in healthy feelings.
  4. If you like to Zoom, set up a time with friends on a regular basis for tea or a cocktail hour. You will find that the week flies by as you look forward to the gathering, and the time spent together is priceless. Even with family, family Zoom time becomes remarkably sacred. It has in our home. But, our friends are also happily zooming in and we are all talking longer and deeper than we might ever in a restaurant.
  5. If you are a Facebook person, join some new groups. In these groups you  can share insights, things you have learned or want to know about, or possibly new career paths you want to explore. Our Rethink with Andi Simon group has been growing beautifully with professional women from across the globe who want to help other women become the “best they can be.” Sharing has become a gift for each of them.
  6. Book groups are terrific on Zoom.  Book clubs, where you can join others and discuss hot books together, are booming for good reason. If you have not joined one, find a theme that might reflect your own interests and see what you can do to get involved. Here is alink to some that are open for you to join.
  7. Tutor someone. Find ways to identify young people who would like a tutor for math or science or geology or anything that is your area of expertise. Sharing is an immensely powerful antidote for loneliness. The gift of giving will make your loneliness go away as acts of gratitude will make you feel purposeful and positive.
  8. Cook! Make something (for others or maybe just yourself) and sit and eat it slowly. Savor each bite and enjoy all the different flavors and tastes.

COVID-19 may be keeping people apart, but with a little ingenuity and effort, we can find ways to connect – with ourselves and with others.

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D. (www.andisimon.com), author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (www.simonassociates.net). A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Gabrielle Archuleta illustration for 360 MAGAZINE skiing article

Skiing, Snowshoeing Popular During COVID Isolation

With the holidays behind us and more snowstorms expected in Park City, Utah, YOTELPAD Park City is seeing a robust level of skiers taking advantage of the new hotel’s first season at the base of Park City Mountain.

The largest ski and snowboard resort in the United States, Park City Mountain has added YOTELPAD Park City last month to Canyons Village with easy access to the Gondola and Orange Bubble ski lifts to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, shopping, dining and après ski.

“We’re finding this year that cross country skiing and snowshoeing has taken a leap in popularity with our guests,” said Brandon Tyler, general manager of YOTELPAD Park City. “YOTELPAD Park City is at the base of one of the best ski mountains in the country, and families are relishing all of our outdoor winter activities.”

One national report showed 2019-20 cross country skiing was up to 5.2 percent from year-earlier figures of 4.9 percent, while year-over-year snowshoeing increased to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent, according to Cross Country Ski Areas Association.

“With 7,300 acres of open mountain terrain as a playground, guests are loving recreating in the clean mountain while naturally distancing from others,” said Tyler, whose team opened the 144-PAD (YOTEL-speak for condos) hotel Dec. 17, 2020.

The first in the world of its kind, YOTELPAD Park City is a fully tech-equipped hotel with self-service check-in stations, Grab+Go meals and drinks, a 24/7 gym with the latest Life Fitness & Peloton equipment, ski valet service, a fireside lounge and more.

“YOTELPAD’s differentiator is our innovative designs for various-sized PADs, which include Italian furniture that transforms into multiple uses in the same room space,” he said. “Guests absolutely love the European-inspired floor plans because they optimize every inch of PADs, which can accommodate up to seven guests and make it the perfect mountain base for adventure seekers.”

Born from creative leaders at London’s YOTEL, the YOTELPAD concept is drastically altering consumers’ images of hotels.

“This first YOTELPAD is changing travelers’ expectation of hotels, which will cause hotels to adapt to travelers’ demands,” said Tyler. “From top to bottom, these PADs offer incredible options for guests. Intelligently designed PADs allow guests to enjoy the benefits of their stay without added expenses.”

Tapping into the local fresh food options, YOTELPAD provides with several local food options.

“To accommodate guests’ preferences, our Grab+Go food express offers fresh, farm-to-table local food,” he said. “Savoury Kitchen provides breakfast burritos, oatmeal, soups, sandwiches and salads. Dinner originates from Rebekah’s Kitchen, with items such as turkey chili and minestrone stew. Gold Creek Farms provides locally harvested cheeses daily.

“From quality coffees, such as Lavazza, to high-end takeaway meals, we offer a wide array of food, drinks and retail items.”

Already at 85 percent sold, YOTELPAD’s owners can submit their PADs into a nightly rental program when not in use.

“Owners can rent their PADs and instantly be listed in YOTEL’s worldwide network for guests seeking new experiences in an environment with modern designs,” said Tyler.

Operating 17 hotels in eight countries, YOTEL recently opened YOTEL London, YOTEL Glasgow and YOTEL Washington, D.C.

“The YOTEL and YOTELPAD concepts are trending, with 13 more YOTELs under development globally and two YOTELPADs being built in Miami and Dubai,” he said.

The tech-forward hotel has built a strong following for its hassle-free solutions, with travelers seeking out hotels in cities and airports from San Francisco to Europe to Singapore.

To provide mountain resort expertise, YOTEL has partnered with Benchmark, a global hospitality leader, to spearhead day-to-day operations of YOTELPAD Park City. Since acquiring Gemstone Hotels & Resorts in 2016, Benchmark has built a strong Park City presence and manages a portfolio of more than 70 unique projects across three continents, including ski properties in Park City, Vail, Lake Tahoe and Jackson Hole.

For more information, visit yotel.com/parkcity.

SHOT 3/2/17 11:13:38 AM – Park City, Utah lies east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Range, it’s bordered by the Deer Valley Resort and the huge Park City Mountain Resort, both known for their ski slopes. Utah Olympic Park, to the north, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now predominantly a training facility. In town, Main Street is lined with buildings built primarily during a 19th-century silver mining boom that have become numerous restaurants, bars and shops. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)
SHOT 3/2/17 6:46:36 PM – Aerial photos of Park City, Utah. Park City lies east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Range, it’s bordered by the Deer Valley Resort and the huge Park City Mountain Resort, both known for their ski slopes. Utah Olympic Park, to the north, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now predominantly a training facility. In town, Main Street is lined with buildings built primarily during a 19th-century silver mining boom that have become numerous restaurants, bars and shops. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)
SHOT 3/2/17 3:57:46 PM – Park City, Utah lies east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah. Framed by the craggy Wasatch Range, it’s bordered by the Deer Valley Resort and the huge Park City Mountain Resort, both known for their ski slopes. Utah Olympic Park, to the north, hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now predominantly a training facility. In town, Main Street is lined with buildings built primarily during a 19th-century silver mining boom that have become numerous restaurants, bars and shops. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)

COVID-19 Trial Tests if Common Drug Can Keep Patients Out of Hospital

At-risk people diagnosed with COVID-19 across the United States and Canada can participate in a clinical trial testing whether a common drug can keep them from getting sicker and keep them out of the hospital.­­

The trial, conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is based on a discovery by the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Alban Gaultier, PhD, and a former graduate student, Dorian A Rosen, PhD.

Gaultier and Rosen found last year that the antidepressant fluvoxamine may stop the deadly inflammation known as sepsis, in which the immune response spirals out of control. The drug’s apparent benefit for dampening dangerous inflammation prompted the Washington University researchers to begin investigating its potential benefit for COVID-19, which can also cause dangerous overreactions of the immune system.

“If this clinical trial is proven successful, fluvoxamine could become a standard treatment for patients newly diagnosed with COVID-19, especially patients at risk,” Gaultier said. “Even the best vaccines do not protect 100% of the population, and discovery of safe and affordable treatments to prevent COVID-19-associated complications is critical.”

Fluvoxamine and COVID-19

Earlier this year, the Washington University researchers launched their first clinical trial of the drug in patients with COVID-19. That trial compared fluvoxamine with a harmless placebo in 152 adult outpatients. None of the 80 participants who received fluvoxamine became seriously ill after 15 days, while six patients who received placebo did. Of those six, four were hospitalized, for periods ranging from four to 21 days. One was on a ventilator for 10 days.

Based on those initial results, Washington University is now launching a much larger trial open to residents across the United States and Canada. The trial is seeking approximately 880 at-risk participants, age 18 and older, who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing mild symptoms.

Participants will be provided with either fluvoxamine or a placebo for approximately 15 days. No face-to-face contact is required; everything necessary will be sent to the participants’ doorsteps.

Contactless Check-Ins

The researchers will track the patients by videochat, email or telephone to determine if fluvoxamine provides a benefit and helps keep participants out of the hospital. During brief daily check-ins, trial participants will report their oxygen levels, blood pressure and temperature, along with whether they are feeling shortness of breath or have had any other problems.

The study team will continue to follow the participants for approximately 90 days after they have finished taking fluvoxamine or the placebo.

The trial is open to people who have at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19, such as being 40 or older, being part of a high-risk racial/ethnic group (such as African-American, Hispanic, Native American or biracial), or having one or more medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a lung disease or an immune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis.

For more information about the trial, visit this website.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a COVID-19 Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Uptick in Nursing Home Covid Cases

New Nursing Home Cases In Midwest States Increase By More Than 400% Since September

AHCA/NCAL Calls On CDC To Give Long-Term Care Facilities The Highest Priority For Vaccine Distribution And On Congress To Replenish Emergency Funding 

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year. Today, they released an updated report showing nursing homes in the U.S. have now experienced the worst outbreak of weekly new cases since last spring due to the community spread among the general population, surpassing previous peaks since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking cases in nursing homes.

Recent data released by Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that with the recent spike in new COVID cases in the general U.S. population, weekly nursing home cases are also on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, weekly new COVID cases in the general U.S. population rose by 330 percent to 1,043,040 new cases the week of November 15. A correlating uptick in new cases in nursing homes occurred when cases in the surrounding community started rising back in mid-September.

As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. University of Chicago’s Tamara Konetzka, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care, recently said, “Trying to protect nursing home residents without controlling community spread is a losing battle.” Dr. David Grabowski, Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School recently stated, “The strongest predictor of whether or not we’ll see cases in [a particular setting] is community spread.”

“Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,” stated Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.

“Our health care heroes are doing everything they can to prevent it from spreading further, but this level of COVID nationwide puts a serious strain on our workforce, supplies, and testing capacity,” said Parkinson. “Given the fact that our elderly population is the most vulnerable and the rising level of COVID across the U.S. shows no signs of stopping, it is paramount that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide the highest priority for the vaccine distribution to long term care residents and staff.”

During the week of November 15, nearly half (49 percent) of new COVID cases in nursing homes were from Midwest states with major spikes in the community spread in the upper parts of the region. As a result, the Midwest region saw more than a 400 percent increase in weekly COVID cases in nursing homes since mid-September.

After seven weeks of declining cases in nursing homes through mid-September, nursing home cases began to increase as nearly all 50 states started to see significant rising levels of COVID cases. New weekly cases in nursing homes grew by more than 177 percent nationwide between mid-September and the week of November 15.

The report also showed COVID-related deaths in nursing homes are starting to rise, crossing more than 2,000 residents lost the week of November 15—the first time since early-June. Nursing home residents are typically older adults with multiple chronic conditions, making them most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Residents of long term care facilities account for only seven percent of the nation’s cases, yet 40 percent of its deaths. While mortality rates decreased compared to the spring due to a better understanding of the virus, better treatments, and government resources to help reduce spread, as industry leaders predicted, the rising number of new COVID cases in facilities are resulting an increasing number of deaths.

“With millions of Americans failing to heed advice from public health experts and traveling during Thanksgiving, we are extremely concerned that this situation will only get much worse,” continued Parkinson. “At this point, long term care facilities desperately need public health officials at every level to take emergency steps to get control of the community spread and ensure our facilities have the resources they need, as well as for the CDC to make our residents and caregivers the top priority in distributing the vaccine in order to save thousands of lives.”

With record new COVID cases across the country, Parkinson said Congress must also prioritize frontline health care workers and long term care residents during the lame-duck session. Last week AHCA/NCAL released a list of actions that Congress should urgently take to help nursing homes and assisted living communities respond to the uptick in new cases.

Most of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act back in April has already been distributed and Parkinson said health care providers, including long-term care facilities, will need additional funds to continue the response to the COVID pandemic. The financial aid is crucial in helping long-term care facilities acquire personal protective equipment, conduct regular testing, and hire additional staff or reward current caregivers for their heroic efforts.

“Congress must fulfill its duty,” stated Parkinson. “Without adequate funding and resources, the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes made during the initial outbreak last spring and the major spike over the summer. We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in long term care facilities, by passing another COVID relief package during the lame duck session on Congress.”

For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus

ABOUT AHCA/NCAL

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long-term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

Covid Risk Increases During Holidays

By Hannah DiPilato

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Covid cases are skyrocketing all over the country and officials are advising people to social distance this holiday season.

According to CNN, more than 12 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and over 260,000 people have died. With those that are elderly or immune-compromised, the risk of complications due to COVID-19 is higher.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the safety guidelines for traveling. “CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period,” Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, said in a conference call.

“Right now, especially as we are seeing exponential growth in cases and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,” Walke continued.

The CDC has also recommended people stay in their immediate households for the holiday season. Even without traveling across the country, seeing those you don’t usually see can lead to a breakout of coronavirus.

Walke said he does not plan to visit his own family for the holiday season. “I haven’t seen my parents since January. I’m staying home and that’s been difficult as I have older parents who would like to see me and who would like to see my children as well,” he said.

“It’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months now, and people are tired. And we understand that and people want to see their relatives and their friends in the way they’ve always done it,” he continued, “But this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible and limit their travel.”

If you plan to gather with those outside of your immediate household, there are important precautions to take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. First, keep gatherings as small as possible. Many states have restrictions in place which limit the number of people allowed to gather inside. Check your local and state regulations to ensure your gathering is following the laws.

The CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz said, “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household.”

If possible, move your Thanksgiving dinner outside. Coronavirus is less likely to spread outside where there is better ventilation than indoors. Although many places are getting cold, tell your guests to load up with blankets and winter gear. If it’s too cold for an outside gathering, keep the windows open to ventilate the area.

One of the most important and simplest things you can do to stop the spread of Covid is to wear a mask. In many states, masks are required in public places and Thanksgiving dinner should be no exception. Keep your mask on unless eating and remain six feet away from other guests.

It is also recommended that guests handle making their own food and bringing their own utensils to Thanksgiving dinner this year. This prevents the spread of germs as well as cross-contamination between households. Remember to frequently wash your hands when cooking, eating and generally to stop the spread of germs.

Covid cases are rising in communities as well as healthcare networks which is making the virus even harder to handle. Many more people are becoming hospitalized due to the virus and healthcare workings are at risk.

According to the Associated Press, 905 staff members at The Mayo Clinic Health System have been infected with coronavirus in the last two weeks. The Mayo Clinic Health System is a network of clinics and hospitals in the midwest that are run by Mayo Clinic.

Executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice, Dr. Amy Williams, said that most cases came from exposure within the community and not from work. “It shows how widely spread this is in our communities and how easy it is to get COVID-19 in the communities here in the Midwest,” she said.

If a virtual gathering isn’t in your Thanksgiving plans this year and you will be seeing people outside of your family in person, consider isolating yourself beforehand. Since the incubation period of the virus is 14 days, a negative test result doesn’t necessarily mean a person does not carry the virus. Although a negative test result for coronavirus isn’t a sure sign of safety, it is an extra precaution everyone should add before mingling this holiday season.

Besides getting a coronavirus test, people should also consider a 14-day quarantine before seeing loved ones, or afterward. Isolating before seeing family will decrease the risk of spreading the disease within your holiday circle. If you plan on traveling for the holiday, consider isolating yourself after returning to prevent the spread of covid in your community.

The CDC has predicted this will be a dark winter and although a vaccine is in the works, it likely won’t be ready for mass distribution for a few more weeks. The holiday season will only lead to more cases with an increase in travel and group gatherings. As the weather in many places gets colder, inside gatherings are more likely to occur.

The CDC also recommends everyone get their flu shot for the upcoming flu season. By protecting yourself from the flu, you can help the healthcare system more easily manage the large influx of people going to the hospital.

In all states except Hawaii, Maine and Vermont, there is an active or imminent outbreak of coronavirus according to Covid Act Now. Even these three states are at risk for an outbreak. Currently, North Dakota has the highest number of new daily cases per 100,000 people with 159.6 cases. Wyoming and New Mexico follow closely behind.

Many states have separated their cities and counties into different zones depending on the number of Covid cases present. The restrictions in place for these areas are then determined by the number of cases.

New York City is starting to enforce tighter restrictions as cases start to rise. “In the next week or two we should see some substantial restrictions,” said Mayor, Bill de Blasio. “I think indoor dining will be closed, gyms will be closed.  I’m not happy about it. No one is happy about it but that’s what’s coming.” There is currently a 10 person gathering limit and a curfew for nonessential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Similarly, in Boston, Governor Charlie Baker has released a stay-at-home advisory for the same time frame. People are urged to only go out between these hours for essentials. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people while outdoor gatherings should be capped at 25 people.

Things on the west coast seem just as bleak. According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries will be closed for dine-in services for at least three weeks. People in Los Angeles are being advised to stay home and have a similar curfew to Boston and New York City.

In some cities where cases are skyrocketing, restrictions are not being put in place as heavily as in California and New York. In Miami, restaurants are able to be open to 100% capacity and seat 10 people per table. Most things in Miami are reopened, but with restrictions such as requiring masks.

It is crucial for everyone to work together to bring covid cases back down over the coming weeks. As cases spike, it is important to remember that each state has precautions in place for a reason. Although many states won’t fully shut down, you can decide to continue social distancing and only going out for essentials.

Los Angeles Halloween Town

Story X Illustration by Kaelen Felix 

Not the year we hoped for – COVID-19 virus; stay-at-home mandate order to working remotely. Some did not have the option to work from home, and as a result, millions have lost their jobs. Many months have flown by since everyone had to shelter in place by the policy that was enacted. Fast forward from March to October, and while we are nine months into this, it feels as if there is no end in sight. Summer is behind us, and with Fall here, Halloween is so different from any year we have experienced to date. Everything in 2020 has been turned upside down, and the world is at a stand-still.

The Walt Disney Company announced the layoffs of 28,000 total with 10,000 affecting the Disneyland resorts, parks, hotels, and stores in Anaheim, CA. The coronavirus and the pandemic have hit L.A. hard, and these layoffs are effective this coming Sunday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has provided guidance on gatherings suggesting no more than ten people per group.

The virus continues to wreak havoc with our favorite holiday, Halloween! Why does this continue to happen? The CDC suggests that younger age group are not obeying the CDC suggestions to prevent further spreading. Halloween should be a free-spirited holiday for children and adults to play dress-up and to trick-or-treat. By restricting live entertainment and gatherings this Halloween, those feeling down or depressed may be further affected. So, how does this impact Halloween and what are the measures taken to make this year a success? And also, help with our health and well-being? The spirit of Halloween is all about expressing oneself through a costume, and of course who doesn’t want a bunch of candy by night’s end? Many places across the United States are working on solutions to abide to the social-distancing instructions.

In the Midwest where cases continually rise though some have found a different outlet to make Halloween extra creative. Minnesota, a friendly neighborhood family from the Woodbury area used a plastic piping to slide candy down safely to with physical contact. That way the children are not in close contact with the family members, and it is a safer method for the children. According to the 5 ABC Eye Witness News, the Humphries in the Woodbury family explain their thought process on this as, “Halloween is about being outside, dressing up and doing something different.” The Humphries also mentioned, “It’s important children still have those opportunities.”

In Chicago, many are taking the social-distancing measures very seriously, because they want to see children come out and enjoy a safe Halloween. A source from Block Club Chicago says, “One Chicago neighborhood will hold a contest on the best decorated house on Kenmore Avenue.” While that’s one example of how social distance will be handled, because people can ride around in their cars and vote accordingly. Meanwhile, another part of this adds, “The city is hosting a series of event giveaways for an entire week leading up to the holiday, which they’ve dubbed “Halloweek.”  Such a fun way to put on a show in the city suburb of Chicago. Another area in Albuquerque, New Mexico have routed together a bus with ten zombies on what they call an “Art” bus to keep social-distancing measures in order and to scare passengers as they board the bus. From a local news KRQE, “The city of Albuquerque announced this Friday that two art buses would feature 10 “zombies” in the seats usually taped off social distancing purposes.” Another creative method taken into action to keep the Halloween tradition and spirit alive.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health suggests that people comply with the personal protection measures, such as wearing a cloth-faced masks, keeping the six feet social distancing measures and most importantly, continually to wash hands often and use hand sanitizer if need be. Some of the best options to celebrate Halloween include doing virtual costume contests, car parades or trick-or-treating in a safe manner. Set up a table outside with candy in separate plastic bags and provide hand sanitizer as well. Forbes suggests if you have children there are some options for children’s interest in Halloween movies. Some of these examples include, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Coco, Monster House, Beetle Juice and Corpse Bride and more.

While we are still in this pandemic; we should applaud our essential front line responders for their diligent efforts. They work tirelessly to save many lives and they should be honored as our true heroes. Let us do our part to ensure we all have a fun and a safe Halloween this year even though this was not the year we wanted, at least we are close to 2021.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Covid-19 Reaches Dangerous Levels in the U.S.

By Hannah DiPilato 

As summer turns to fall, many cases of Coronavirus in The United States are beginning to spike. Fourteen states have set hospitalization records due to the virus and officials are concerned about how the virus will progress. 

According to the Covid Tracking Project, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, all reported their highest number of hospitalizations this past week. 

The director for the National Institutes for Health, Dr. Francis Collins, told National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” on Tuesday that his family would not be gathering for Thanksgiving. 

“It is just not safe to take that kind of chance with people coming from different parts of the country of uncertain status,” said Collins. “The problem with this disease is it is so easy for people to be infected and not know it, and then spread it to the ones next to them without realizing it.”

“All of this, I’m afraid, happens because we have not succeeded in this country in introducing really effective public health measures,” he continued.

Deaths in the U.S. have now reached over 220,000 and experts are concerned this number will continue to escalate. The average of new daily cases was over 58,300, the highest the average has been since August.

It seems the most spikes are happening in the “Midwest, Great Plains and parts of the West,” according to CNN. Pennsylvania is on its 15th consecutive day of reporting over 1,000 coronavirus cases. Although, New York City, which got hit harder at the beginning of the pandemic, has not seen a marked increase in deaths. 

“We are not seeing an increase in overall deaths and that’s been true over the last several weeks to several months,” said Dave Chokshi commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Human Services. “The total number of deaths per day is averaging in the single digits.” 

New York City’s rate of positive tests is 2.52% and in open schools, the rate is only 0.17%. In other states, the positive rates are not so promising. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida has reported 3,662 new cases of the virus and 86 additional deaths on Tuesday. 

Experts are warning that things regarding coronavirus are only going to get worse, predicting a bleak fall and winter. Vaccine scientist, Peter Hotez, reported that the next few months will be the worst of the pandemic. 

“The key is now hanging on now for the next four or five months, where we’re going to enter what may be the worst period during this epidemic,” said Hotez. “As bad as it’s been, it’s about to get worse.”

Pence vs. Harris illustration for 360 mag

Harris vs. Pence Vice Presidential Debate

By Hannah DiPilato

On Wednesday night, amidst many members of the White House testing positive for Coronavirus, the vice presidential debate was still held. Vice President Mike Pence and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris discussed important topics with 57 million people watching. 

The debate was a little calmer than last week’s, but there is still a lot to take away from the dispute. Moderator Susan Page of USA Today was able to keep things in check between the two, allowing a fair debate. 

The first topic was the unavoidable coronavirus, even more relevant now that so many people in Washington have tested positive. “Stop playing politics with people’s lives,” said Pence when he brought up Harris’ opinion that she wouldn’t get a COVID vaccination unless it was endorsed by public health experts. Pence also shot blame at China for causing the coronavirus while Harris contrasted this idea by saying the Trump administration didn’t do enough to combat the pandemic. 

Another pressing issue presented was the two candidates’ opinions on abortion. Pence made a comment that “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, late-term abortion.” Although this is an exaggeration, Biden does support abortion rights. 

Pence and Harris argued about loopholes that currently exist in abortion laws that allow abortion all the way up to birth, but comparing the right to abortion to infanticide are two drastically different things. Pence could not confirm how Judge Amy Coney Barrett would vote on Roe v. Wade if confirmed into the Supreme Court. This has been a hot topic ever since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Many Americans are familiar with Biden’s plan to raise taxes on many people across the United States, but Pence took this a step forward claiming Biden would raise taxes on everyone. “Senator Harris is denying the fact that they’re going to raise taxes on every American,” said Pence. Harris noted that Biden has made it clear he won’t be raising taxes for anyone that makes less than $400,000 a year. 

Pence also acknowledged that climate change is real and that the Trump administration will “follow the science,” but he quickly changed the subject back onto Biden’s proposed tax increase. Harris responded that the government needs to do more to combat the changing climate, but didn’t say exactly how much preventative measures would cost. She also said Biden would rejoin the United States with the Paris climate accords. 

On the lighter side of the debate, social media buzzed about a fly landing on Pence’s head. The Vice President didn’t notice the fly, but the fly’s black body stood out to the audience against Pence’s bright white hair. 

The fly became a sensation and many twitter accounts were created from its perspective. There were hopes for a Saturday Night Live skit and jokes about a Netflix special. An online Halloween store is even selling a white wig with a fly on it called “Debate Fly Wig.” Biden also took advantage of this running joke and created a tweet with a fly pun to encourage donations and put a fly swatter up for sale.  

In the debate’s final moments, a question submitted by an eighth-grader was asked regarding the political division of The United States and the disagreement between the country’s leaders. 

Pence responded by attacking the news media for showing more of a significant divide that actually exists between most citizens. Harris referenced the 2017 Charlottesville violence and how this motivated Biden to run. “Joe Biden has a history of lifting people up and fighting for their dignity,” she said explaining how Biden could unite Americans. “I mean, you have to know Joe’s story to know that Joe has known pain, he has known suffering, and he has known love.”

On Thursday, following the vice presidential debate, President Donald Trump stated he would not be attending the next virtual debate against presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump said on Fox News he would hold a rally instead.